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IOTP (Internet Open Trading Protocol)
Expanded version: contains additional text not in the book

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IOTP is a framework that supports commerce on the Internet by providing a familiar trading model and global interoperability. IOTP attempts to virtualize real-world buying, selling, and trading. IOTP is designed to promote business-to-business commerce on the Internet and make on-line shopping easier for consumers. It supports electronic commerce across sites, as in the case where different Internet sites handle parts of the same transactions, such as catalogs and shopping carts, payment handlers, product delivery, and customer support.

RFC 2801 (Internet Open Trading Protocol - IOTP, Version 1.0) describes IOTP as follows:

The negotiation of who will be the parties to the trade, how it will be conducted, the presentment of an offer, the method of payment, the provision of a payment receipt, the delivery of goods and the receipt of goods. These are events that are taken for granted in the course of real world trade. IOTP has been produced to provide the same for the virtual world, and to prepare and provide for the introduction of new models of trading made possible by the expanding presence of the virtual world.

IOTP also attempts to define trading events in a standard way so that two unfamiliar parties engaged in electronic commerce will be able to identify the type of transaction, conform to specifications, and complete the transaction safely and successfully. The underlying method for transporting information in IOTP is XML. Different e-commerce applications, running at different Internet sites, are able to read and interpret XML documents, allowing interoperability among applications.

Developers can use the IOTP protocol to develop software products that buyers can use to purchase products independent of the chosen payment mechanism. It automates the selection of payment methods and encapsulates the payment with the offers/invoice/receipts for payment and delivery. For example, the merchant forwards a list of supported payment methods (MasterCard, Visa, Mondex, GeldKarte), payment protocols (SET or Secure Channel Credit Debit), and currencies to the consumer and the consumer's client software makes a selection based on what it supports.

Note that many electronic commerce sites have done well enough on their own without a need for frameworks such as IOTP. The focus of many site developers has been on creating custom interfaces and experiences for users. Whether IOTP catches on is yet to be seen.

IOTP was originally developed by the Open Trading Protocol Consortium. In 2000, the IETF took over further development of the protocol. RFC 2801 provides a complete description, or you can refer to the Web sites listed on the related entries page. RFC 2935 (Internet Open Trading Protocol (IOTP) HTTP Supplement, September 2000) defines the mapping of XML to HTTP. RFC 2802 (Digital Signatures for the v1.0 Internet Open Trading Protocol, April 2000) describes how digital signatures are implemented with IOTP. Addition information is available at the IETF Internet Open Trading Protocol (trade) Working Group.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.